In the days after Annabel Bowlen announced she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, four years after her husband, Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen was also diagnosed with it, we received notes from Broncos fans expressing their well wishes to her and her family. Here, we've collected some of the more exceptional letters for fans to read.
Thank you and Mr. Bowlen for all these wonderful years of being able to be a Denver Broncos fan. I've been a hardcore fan since 1992 and lucky to have been a fan for all 3 of our Super Bowl wins. Without you to carry on after Mr. Bowlen had to step down, we wouldn't be world champions for a 3rd time.
Thank you and God bless.
Matthew M. (Hollywood, Florida)
I've been a caregiver to my mom for 16 years. She has severe dementia and Alzheimer's. She is 93, she is mobile, she is not in any pain, and she's always happy. It can affect people differently.
I believe doctors and health care are always developing new technologies & medicines to combat Alzheimer's & dementia.
You won't go through this alone, you have a strong team of support who will always be by your side.
Ursula H. (Toronto, Ontario)
Mrs. B ... from my heart to yours and to Mr. B as well and to the entire Bowlen family. My heart and prayers and well wishes are with all of you. You are not alone in your fight. ... Broncos Country has your back! Thank you for all that you've done!
Brian B. (Arvada, Colorado)
Mrs. Bowlen, just wanted to wish you well with your health. You are a very inspirational women. Loved the strength you have showed with the challenges you have been through with your husband's illness. That strength will help you in this fight. You're an amazing woman!
Arlo P. (Parker, Colorado)
Thinking of Mr. and Mrs. Bowlen and the Bowlen family at this trying time. The Broncos are a team the Bowlen family built on toughness and grit and I have no doubt they will get through this fight. Best wishes from Sydney, Australia.
Joseph M. (Sydney, Australia)
Just want you to know I feel for the struggles you are going through and your future struggles. Life seems unfair at moments but never give up. What seems like the most impossible break has a reason, has a purpose and is beatable in one form or another. Keep positive every moment you can. Laugh a lot and love harder then you have loved in your life. Every day you are all together is worth its weight in gold and then some.
Laura S. (Dickinson, North Dakota)
I wish you both luck in your continued battles against Alzheimer's. It is a shame that these diseases affect the best people. You have both done a great job running the Denver Broncos, and as a lifelong fan, I thank you both for that.
Nick F. (Coal Township, Pennsylvania)
As a long time Broncos fan I want to tell you the class and grace the Bowlen family has portrayed in the NFL is second to none. You have proven we can win or lose with dignity. Thank you for setting such a high example of how we should live. I will pray for your family as this new chapter in your life continues. My father fought the same battle. Know that you are loved and admired by more people than you can imagine. Take care and God bless you.
Jane C. (Morris, Illinois)
The whole Broncos organization and way of life has brought me years of happiness. From tossing the football to myself as a youth pretending to be John Elway to today. I am now able to instill this joy in my 4-year-old daughter who loves Jake Butt. She even prays for him at night before bed. We have recently added you to the same prayers. We love everything that you have done for the Broncos, the fans, and the greatest city on Earth. Take care and again thank you!
Justin V. (Broken Arrow, Oklahoma)
Being born in Oklahoma, there are two teams that you cheered for. Either it was the Kansas City Chiefs or the Dallas Cowboys. I broke tradition and picked the Broncos as my team at an early age and have been a longtime fan since. I love the Broncos and the Bowlen family. You are all always in my thoughts and prayers. May God bless you now and always.
LaKeeta T. (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
My husband was diagnosed shortly before Mr. Bowlen ... he is in his 10th year now. I am well versed in this evil disease. I've been a Bronco fan since 1965 and used to live in the projects near stadium. I think Mr. Bowlen and his sweet wife are the best of the best. John Elway has continued to further their legacy. My prayers and thoughts are with both of them. I know the struggle as I deal with it daily. May God bless them each and every day.
Ann D. (Amarillo, Texas)
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bowlen, please know I openly wept when I heard this news. It's an awful disease and I hope it goes easy on the both of you. Words can't quite express how much you and your family have meant to this community. I'm proud to call myself a lifelong Bronco fan in part because of how amazing the Bowlen family truly is. Thank you both for putting this state first and keeping the team here. Thank you for 3 championships and being willing to spend the money it took to get great hall of famers to play here. Thank you for the years of winning and the culture that brought with it to this fine state. Colorado wouldn't be what it is without you guys and I for one will forever be grateful. Thank you for Peyton Manning and all he has brought with him. Most of all, thank you for being such amazing citizens and for standing pat in times of strife. Pat and Annabel and all the children, I wish you all nothing but the best of wishes and pray this horrible disease can be cured one day and that the cure is found to save you both from it. Thank you so much for everything.
Brandon C. (Aurora, Colorado)
The Bowlen family has been an incredibly important cornerstone for the Denver community my entire life. I just want both Pat and Annabel to know that they are not alone in their fight, and they have the support of every Denverite. They mean much more to this community than the Super Bowls and the pigskin. They're both stronger than this disease. Thank you for everything. Much love to you and your children.
Nathan J. (Castle Rock, Colorado)
Growing up a lifelong Bronco fan, words cannot express what the Broncos mean to me. It brings my family together every Sunday to watch them play win or lose (hopefully winning more than losing). I'm proud to have you guys around as the owners. You embody what everyone should strive to do to make the community better every day. What you guys are going through, having dealt with this disease in my family it hits home very hard. Broncos Country is with you guys every step of the way thinking of you and praying for you. I can't thank you guys enough for the joy the Broncos have brought during these recent years.
Matt C. (Pueblo, Colorado)
Dear Mrs. Bowlen,
For the last thirty-four years you and your husband have supported a city, and an entire fan base, without asking for anything in return. Your commitment to winning and being a shining example in the community has changed the lives of countless people, including myself. Now, it's time for us to support you and your husband during this difficult time. Having lost a family member to this dreaded illness, I know all too well how difficult it is to have to contend with such a foe. I wish you, and Mr. Bowlen, the best in your fight. Broncos Country is behind you with the same fervor and support you have given us. Thank you for everything and I wish you the best of health.
Seth F. (Phoenix, Arizona)
When I heard the news, I was stunned. Thinking that you and Mr. B have to both be diagnosed with Alzheimer's is unfathomable. I can't even imagine how this has affected you and your children. I have had the privilege of meeting you and most of your children.
I have an ongoing connection with the Denver Broncos, so this news, as with Mr. B, is personal.
Please know I have said a prayer for you and your children, just as I did for Mr. B.
Every time I'm in the stadium and see one of the photos of you and Mr. B holding up a Super Bowl trophy I hear John Elway yelling, "This one's for Pat!"
Anyway, sorry for the rambling. I just needed to let you know this.
Blessings to you, Mr. B, and your children. You and Mr. B will forever a part of me!
In sadness and pride,
Brian M. (Denver)
Mrs. Annabel Bowlen:
Where do I even begin???
It just seemed like only yesterday when 14 years ago I actually got to meet you at the South Suburban Ice Arena in Centennial when I was with my family, who are a BIG Bronco family, because both your daughter - also named Annabel - and my sister Stephanie were figure skaters themselves and they had the same competition at the same rink and I turned to my left and there you were rooting on your daughter as I was rooting for my sister. Twice actually! LOL - because we would meet again a year or two later.
I introduced myself to you and you are such a one-of-a-kind, genuine, sweet person that people around me don't even realize that you are the wife of the Broncos' owner. I wish I'd gotten a picture with you, but I'm sure that you are doing okay.
As for your husband Pat, he has done so much for our beloved football team that some fans I feel take for granted. He's been the Broncos owner ALL MY LIFE!!! Since 1984, I was born in September that year, but that's a different story. But what Pat has done for the Broncos is just remarkable for himself, for you and your family, the entire organization, the entire city of Denver, state of Colorado & the entire Rocky Mountain region we call Broncos COUNTRY!!!!
And what you've done for your husband lately as he's still battling Alzheimer's disease as well as your march to find a cure for this disease is second to none.
To say that I'm fortunate and lucky to have gotten to meet you is more of an understatement. But I'll also add that I'm also grateful to have gotten to meet you, Mrs. Bowlen.
You've been rooting for your family and the Broncos for a long, long time. Now, it's your turn to be rooted for as you now go through this battle.
I'm rooting for you, my family is rooting for you and everyone in Broncos Country is all behind you, Mrs. Bowlen.
Take care, God bless, and GO BRONCOS!!!
Nicholas A. (Longmont, Colorado)
Dear Mrs. Bowlen:
You are a strong woman, with a strong family and an amazing team behind you.
It is always said that Denver Broncos fans are the greatest in the world. We are, and we know it.
Gather the strength from all of these amazing fans, myself included, and do everything you can to fight, fight, fight like hell, to keep the Alzheimer's monster at bay for as long as you can. There are still many things that you can accomplish. I have no doubt that your list is already written.
They say that having a positive outlook is an amazing healer. It will be hard, but try to stay positive.
My very best to you. Sending a hug from Parker to you.
Lisa S. (Parker, Colorado)
I applaud your courage and wish you the best in your days ahead battling this horrible disease. My parents (Ted and Pat) became Denver Bronco season ticket holders in 1970. My Dad passed away in 2015 after a courageous, heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer's. My mother is still a season ticket holder and goes to Bronco games at 81 years old. We want you to know our entire family will be thinking of you and sending positive thoughts and prayers as you face the days ahead. God Bless you and your family.
Cathy P.T. (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Dear Mrs. Bowlen,
My name is Nils, I am 20 years and I am a Broncos fan from Germany.
My first season as a member of Broncos Country ended with a excruciating loss in Super Bowl 48, but Peyton's record-breaking season made me happy and optimistic. My most remembered moment is (of course) the win against the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
I thought you were a great representative for the Bowlen family and I am sure you will always remember this moment like I did.
I wish you, your husband and your family all the best, keep fighting!
Kind regards and support from Germany
Nils B. (Pelm, Germany)
Hey Bowlen family,
I have been a Bronco fan since the day I was born (there are pictures of me about a month old in Broncos gear watching Super Bowl XXXIII) and I have always respected Pat and Annabel as I know we are blessed to have owners who care about their fans and the city of Denver. Broncos Country will always be behind you and we wish you the best of luck. Stay Strong!
Peter K. (Denver)
You are the epitome of grace, beauty and unbreakable strength. Everything you've been doing for Mr. B is true, unconditional love and as you face your own battle, please know how loved and respected you are, not only by myself but by thousands of true Broncos fans. We're on this journey with you and I am sending my prayers of strength and love to you and your entire family. You're in my heart, Mrs. Bowlen.
Love and prayers,
*Christi H. (Medford, Oregon) *
Dear Ms. Bowlen.
I felt in shock hearing the terrible news. Me as well as my fellow Broncos fans are sorry for the circumstances and we really worry about the health of yourself and your husband. I just want to say that I'm grateful and proud to be a Bronco fan and want to say thank you for everything that you and your family had done for the Broncos. Everyday, I'm happy with my decision of being a Bronco fan that I had made 13 years ago when I started to love the sport and find a passion that made me who I am. I'm proud to cheer to a world class organization with a winning mentality to compete every year and become the best. Unfortunately, I still haven't experienced going to Denver and to be present in the stadium, due to living to another country, but still I have hope that one day I will achieve that experience. Finally, I just want to say that I will pray for the Bowlen family to be strong and get well and for the organization to stay the same classy organization that Pat had made to become what it meant for me and for millions of people. Let's have faith in God and let the Bowlen family and the Broncos be in good hands. Always.
Thank you, Pat and Annabel Bowlen, for the memories and everything that you guys had done. You always be remembered in our hearts and we will cherish your legacy and love for this franchise!
Diego L. (Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico)
I have been a Broncos fan since I was seven, so you guys have been in my life for a long time. I pray for your health and well-being. I am also experiencing this disease with my mother and it's very challenging. I hope one day they will discover a cure or something that will help. Again, you guys are in my thoughts.
Wendy V. (North Carolina)
I live myself with family members stricken with this disease. My family's patriarch many years ago became ill with this disease. And my own grandfather has it now as well. It's not easy. Days went by with my great-grandfather, watching us come together for him. Talkative still and often mixing me up with my Dad, he would tell the same stories of days gone by over and over again. Some part of him always remembered...
It brought my family together as we had a love for my great-grandfather...
The Broncos community is no different. We are all a part of this Mile High family. Thank you so much for your dedication, love and passion for this team.
Mack C. (Trinidad, Colorado)
Dear Mrs. Bowlen
As a Broncos Football fan, I was shocked after your announcement. But I'm sure you are strong enough to get over every bad thing that comes in your way, even if it's the other three teams from the AFC West. Orange and Blue is always behind you.
Sending love and energy from Hungary,
Máté H. (Hungary)